NO SINGLE injury caused the death of Tristram Wallace in Stratford town centre, a jury has heard.
The 36-year-old is reported to have pleaded for mercy as he was repeatedly punched, kicked and stamped on during two attacks in broad daylight on the afternoon of June 22.
Toney Jelf, 39, and Peter Mallon, 42, both of no fixed abode, and Donna Windsor, 37, of Betjeman Road, deny murder but have admitted the manslaughter of Mr Wallace.
Neil Potter, 37, of Clopton Road, has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter – claiming he acted in self-defence.
Giving evidence at Birmingham Crown Court, forensic pathologist Nicholas Hunt told jurors how despite suffering a broken nose, an internal tear to his abdomen and some 40 cuts and bruises to his legs, arms and head, none of the injuries Mr Wallace sustained were themselves fatal.
But a combination of a head injury, Mr Wallace having a slightly enlarged heart and inhaling his own vomit while unconscious had contributed to his death.
These factors – coupled with the stress of the attack – would likely have triggered the cardiac arrest that killed Mr Wallace, he said.
Dr Hunt told the jury: “There’s no overwhelming injury that provides the explanation for this man’s death – it’s clear he has been assaulted. One would expect an assault of this nature to be a highly stressful event both physically and psychologically.
“This would cause a rise in stress hormones – adrenaline being a classic example – and this may render someone vulnerable to experiencing an arrhythmia, unconsciousness and cardiac arrest.”
Dr Hunt went on to explain how the risk of such an attack could continue even after the assault had finished.
He confirmed there was evidence of oxygen deprivation to the brain, which he said could have been caused when Mr Wallace had inhaled vomit.
Toxicology reports revealed there was neither drugs nor alcohol in Mr Wallace’s system while a post-mortem gave no evidence of any underlying medical conditions.
Jurors were told how Mr Wallace was in a severely agitated state following the attack. He was said to have been complaining of difficulty breathing and was reportedly pulling wires off his body as medics attempted to carry out observations.
The Arden Street resident then suffered a cardiac arrest and was declared dead shortly after 5.30pm.
The jury was shown CCTV footage of Mr Wallace and the defendants prior to the attack as well as a video shot by a witness on a mobile phone of the final moments before he died.
During the first two weeks of the trial, the jury has heard some 30 accounts of how the violence – which is said to have brought traffic at the junction of Arden Street and Birmingham Road to a standstill – escalated.
And in his opening, prosecutor James Curtis QC told the court the attack on Mr Wallace was the result of the mistaken belief he had cheated them out of a drugs deal.
The trial continues.